Richard Anuszkiewicz was born in Erie, Pennsylvania to Polish immigrants. While at the Cleveland Institute of Art, he studied plein-air painting with Henry Hensche. After winning a Pulitzer Traveling Fellowship in 1953, Anuszkiewicz attended Yale University where he studied under Josef Albers. While at Yale he studied alongside fellow Cleveland Op artist Julian Stanczak. After receiving his M.F.A. at Yale, Anuszkiewicz went on to Kent State University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Education.

At just age 23, his work was exhibited at the May Show at the Cleveland Institute of Art. He was given his first solo show in March 1960 in New York.

Because of his early success, Anuszkiewicz had the freedom to pursue his ideas creatively. Anuszkiewicz was one of the leading artists of the Op Art movement during the 1960s and 1970s. His style is distinctive for its high-intensity colors that he applies to geometric configurations. Many of Anuszkiewicz works are reminiscent of Josef Albers paintings and have similar square forms. Like Albers, Anuszkiewicz also experimented with juxtapositions of color.

His work has been exhibited in over 300 different shows around the world in many different museums and institutions. Anuszkiewicz has won many awards, including the Cleveland Arts Prize in 1977, the Hassam Fund Purchase Award in 1980 and 1988, a Richard Florsheim Fund Grant in 1997, and the Lee Krasner Award in 2000.